Texas, 1979 - experience with MARCO Filterbelt Skimmers on IXTOC I and Burmah Agate crude oil spills.




Blackbourn, S.R.

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On June 3, 1979, the exploratory drilling rig, Sedco 135, hit a fractured stratum while drilling at 3624 m below the ocean floor in 48 m of water. This oil well is designated IXTOC 1, located 80 km NW of Cindad del Carmen, Mexico. After hitting the fractured stratum, events led to the uncontolled oil blowout of of the IXTOC 1 oil well. With seasonal current and wind patterns pushing the IXTOC 1 oil northward, the U.S. was impacted along the southern Texas coast during Aug./Sep., 1979. On Nov.1, 1979, the ore carrier Mimosa was heading out of the Galveston Ship canal after offloading its cargo. At 0500 hours local time, the Mimosa struck the 61674 DWT Burmah Agate amidships. Both vessels immediatly caught fire. It was not until mid-January, 1980 that the fire and oil resulting oil spill were under control. During the IXTOC 1 and Burmah Agate tanker spill recovery efforts, U.S. Navy owned Marco class V and Marco Class XI Recovery System were responsible for the major water-borne spill recovery. This paper addresses the experiences involving the Marco oil spill recovery equipment during the two spills.


p. 398-406.


oil spills, oil pollution, accidents, containment